Entering Sunday night’s contest, the Orlando Magic had only averaged 93.1 points per game during the month of January.
Well, it appears that the Magic saved all of their offensive energy for their final half of the month, as they poured in 72 second-half points against the Boston Celtics, en route to a 119-114 win.
The C’s actually held a 14-point lead during the third quarter. That was quickly forgotten, however, as the Magic went on two huge runs that enabled it to end its eight-game losing streak, and halt Boston’s five-game winning streak in the process.
The Celtics were up 70-56, four minutes into the third quarter, when Orlando went on its first run. Victor Oladipo and Aaron Gordon scored seven points apiece during a 16-2 stretch that tied the game, 72-72.
The teams entered the fourth quarter knotted 81-81, and then Orlando cooked up some Magic again, this time with a 21-5 run that began with six and a half minutes left in the game.
As for that offensive energy that Orlando had been searching for all month? Gordon supplied plenty of it here. He closed out the run with a driving layup and then a put-back slam that gave the Magic a 110-100 advantage with a minute and a half remaining.
Celtics coach Brad Stevens gave credit to Orlando after the game for making a lot of tough shots, but added that Boston’s defense was “porous” during the fourth quarter.
The C's allowed Orlando to outscore them 38-33 during the final frame, and that five-point advantage was the difference in the game.
Marcus Smart’s offense seems to be improving by the day, and Sunday night was no exception.
The guard poured in a career-high-tying 26 points on 8-of-16 shooting, including 5-of-9 from beyond the arc. He added five rebounds and pair of steals to that effort.
Smart also made things very interesting at the end of the game. Orlando held a nine-point lead with 19 seconds to go, but then he single-handedly narrowed the gap to three points, and it took him only four and a half seconds to do so.
He scored seven straight points, and Orlando only hit one of its free throws during that span, but the C’s could not get over the hump in the end.
Box Score Nuggets
- Marcus Smart tied a career-high with 26 points.
- Smart was one of three Boston players to notch at least 20 points, along with Isaiah Thomas (23) and Avery Bradley (22).
- Six Magic players scored in double-figures, led by Evan Fournier's 24 points.
- The Celtics shot 7-of-12 from beyond the arc during the first quarter, but just 9-of-34 during the rest of the game.
- Orlando was much more efficient from 3-point range, as it hit 10-of-24 from deep.
- The Magic held a 50-41 rebounding advantage.
- Amir Johnson led the C's with 11 boards. No other Boston player tallied more than five.
- Isaiah Thomas fouled out with 24 seconds left in the game.
- Orlando outscored Boston in the paint, 46-32.
- The C's dominated on the fast break, 24-8.
- Smart made a season-high five treys. Three of them came during the final minute of the first quarter, while the other two were made during the final 20 seconds of the fourth quarter.
Quote of the Night
They made a lot of tough shots, but we let them get comfortable early. And once you’re comfortable, those tough shots become easier and the basket looks bigger.
Marcus Smart on Orlando's rhythm.